Well, the new year is well on its way and the inshore fishing is heating up along with the weather. Redfish, flounder, black drum, speckled trout and bluefish are all being caught in and around the creeks of the lower Cape Fear. A good number of whiting are being caught near the mouth of the Cape Fear and around Baldhead Island. The redfish and trout topwater bite has been getting better and should be hot towards the end of April and the beginning of May if the water temperature keeps increasing.
The best way to put a redfish or a trout in the boat right now is with shrimp on a Carolina rig. It is very hard for a redfish or a trout to pass up a shrimp and with very few pinfish around right now your shrimp will stay there until the redfish or trout find it. A shrimp on a popping cork may get you a few more trout bites. If a topwater bite is what you want, fish a Skitterwalk around oyster bars, islands and around the mouths of creeks. If you want to fish a topwater in some of the smaller creeks go to a Top Dog Jr. or a Top Pup. The smaller rattles will not spoke the fish as easily. As always you cannot go wrong with a Gulp shrimp on a jig head for both trout and reds.
Larger flounder are starting to show up and 2 and 3 pound fish are being caught on Gulp and live bait. In the next month or so the near shore wrecks and reefs will be covered with summer flounder migrating back in and they will be happy to eat a Carolina rigged mullet or Gulp tipped bucktails.
Whiting and black drum can both be caught on shrimp. Fishing a Carolina rigged shrimp in and near the smaller creeks will produce some nice black drum. The whiting like their shrimp cut up and on two drop rigs. The whiting will be found in the deeper water near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
This time of year many people focus on the big three (reds, trout, and flounder) but don’t forget about the stripers!!! The restocking program seems to be working and stripers are being caught in good numbers in the Cape Fear River around Wilmington and will be here all summer.